I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is a fun visit through adolescence which begs the player to keep living life to the max, experiencing all the game can offer. It's a beautifully artistic game, with many opportunities for a unique experience every time you play.
To be fair, the game is visually appealing, with a minimalistic art style that manages to convey the feeling of the time. It's an interesting experience and a unique premise (how many other Cold War disaster games are you going to play this year?), but ultimately that can't save the title from falling a bit flat.
Landing itself somewhere between a twin-stick shooter and a rhythm game, Soundfall feels like it's not really doing one or other of these particularly successfully. Saved by an incredible soundtrack, Soundfall has the potential to be a really incredible game with an exciting concept, but is let down by repetitive gameplay and a weak story.
All in all, this is a beautifully crafted cautionary tale about the horrors of war and the true devastation it can rain on ordinary civilians. Like real war, every story you play will be different with different outcomes, and you’ll be led to make increasingly more desperate and erratic choices to ensure the survival of your characters.
Aesthetically, the game looks really pretty and is totally evocative of its 1930s setting. The game is plagued with hammy dialogue that makes it feel totally campy and like an old B-movie, but not altogether terrible when coupled with the Lovecraftian influence it draws on. Call of the Sea is a mostly fun puzzle game that falls short on the mystery it tries to have you unveil. While it looks aesthetically pleasing and ticks a lot of boxes for its period setting, the story is lacklustre and predictable.
Overall, this is a fast-paced, colourful, and nostalgic experience. It’s challenging while staying on the right side of frustrating, with a lot of fun to be had. Though you might not get much out of the story, you’ll still have fun clearing levels and beating time trials.
Atelier Ryza 2 is a great addition to the Atelier series, bound to please long-time fans and hook in newcomers. Featuring a colourful cast of characters, an interesting mystery to unfold, and fun crafting features, it's a joy to sink hour upon hour into. While it does have its shortcomings, they are easily forgiven by how entrancing the rest of the game is.
Fairy Tail carries on going even when the storyline is done; there's plenty to upgrade in the guild, and a multitude of characters to rank up, unlocking new content and cutscenes. That, combined with an enjoyable battle system, makes Gust's latest a solid experience for anime fans.
My Hero One's Justice is a perfectly adequate fighting game, and a good adaptation of its source material - but it's not much more than that. It provides a great opportunity to play as some much loved (and hated) characters, showcasing the variety of powers each has on offer while being a fun, engaging, and challenging anime-based title, but it's not quite the heroic effort that we were hoping for.
Little Dragons Café can be fiddly and repetitive, but it's not all together awful. A host of interesting, well-rounded characters provide an engaging story as you raise the world's cutest dragon. It might not be the most taxing game, but it provides a cathartic experience with its simplistic approach to café management.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is an altogether fun but often repetitive dungeon crawler let down by its weak cast and uninteresting storyline. Moments spent in the labyrinth dungeons, though initially confusing, are bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring game, giving the opportunity for exploration and presenting an intriguing battle system which allows for plenty of customisation and experimentation.
The Witch and The Hundred Knight 2 is a colourful, funny, and interesting game, but it's greatly hindered by a drawn-out, convoluted battle system. Hardcore JRPG fans will get more out of this game than the casual player, but as a whole it just feels far too inaccessible for its own good.
Attack on Titan 2 is a much improved sequel and such a vast game - you can spend hours playing and it feels like there's still so much to do. Alongside some really solid gameplay, fans of the series will enjoy interacting with beloved characters, and while the storyline isn't going to offer anything new, you'll feel like a valued part of the fight against the giant menace.
With such stellar source material, it's a real shame that The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia is so disappointing. What could have been an exciting, funny, and rich game has turned out to be a dull experience, offering nothing to players but repetition with little challenge.
Tokyo Xanadu eX+ is a wonderful way to spend several hours thanks to a delightfully fun combat system. The standard JRPG storyline means everything feels very familiar, but it's not all bad. Overall, the game's nothing special -- certainly not to look at -- but there's at least plenty of content here, and the title does a decent job of keeping things fresh.
While this game is a good addition to the existing lore of the Planet of the Apes franchise, it offers little in terms of actual gameplay. The plot of the game is strong, but it's just not enough to totally carry the experience. Final Frontier feels like a valiant attempt at storytelling in a new environment, but it just doesn't quite stick the landing.
Chaos;Child is a great example of a visual novel done right. Its interesting and engaging storyline keeps you wanting more, with the characters lifting an already good game to another level. Some dynamics miss the mark slightly, but ultimately add to the bigger picture and widen the scope of the plot in general, so they're worth persevering with across multiple playthroughs.
Blue Reflection has a lot of interesting ideas, from its plot to the core gameplay, so it's unfortunate that these ideas are left to fester in a pool of mediocrity and drowned in an adventure that feels boring and stale before it's even really begun. The opening scenes show a lot of promise, but none of it is built upon as the game develops. Blue Reflection feels like a tutorial for JRPG beginners - one that even the most inexperienced player would get bored with.